Responsible Electricity Transmission for Albertans
They’re Burying Lines Everywhere Else But Alberta
As the Alberta Government (Premier Redford and Alberta Energy) continues to ignore the facts on the many benefits of burying high voltage power lines, these lines are being buried in other parts of the world where governments are more progressive, open-minded and responsive to their citizens’ concerns about overhead lines.
For example, 30km of 420 kilovolt cable will be buried underground and another 15km will be buried underwater in Denmark (see Penn Energy article). The underground and submarine cable system is one of several government-initiated projects to replace high voltage overhead lines and towers in environmentally sensitive areas in Denmark. ABB, the cable company awarded the contract to lay this cable, has developed advanced technologies to increase the efficiency and reduce the costs of burying high voltage power lines. One of these new technologies is the manufacturing of cable in a single continuous length without factory joints. ABB recently completed a similar submarine cable system across New York Harbor. Martin Gross, ABB’s Grid Systems head said, “It reiterates our commitment to take power cable systems to higher voltages and greater efficiency while minimizing environmental impact.”
The proposed 330-mile Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission project from Quebec to Connecticut and New York City is another example where Transmission Developers Inc. wants to run high voltage cables under Lake Champlain, the Hudson River and Long Island Sound and bury portions of the line along highway and railroad rights-of-way in the Hudson Valley. This latest proposal is in response to concerns raised by residents and environmental groups about the adverse impacts of overhead lines on the environment (see Wall Street Journal article).
In Mansourieh and Ain Saadeh, Lebanon, residents have protested the construction of overhead high voltage lines to the point where a law has been drafted to install underground lines instead to ease residents’ concerns. Residents have stressed the health dangers of electromagnetic fields emanating from overhead lines. The cost of installing the lines underground is much less than building them above ground (see Naharnet article).
There are many other examples of high voltage power lines being buried all over the world to eliminate negative health, safety, environmental, property value, tourism, agriculture, pipeline and aesthetic impacts of overhead lines. Why is it that the Alberta Government refuses to accept the facts about the negative impacts of overhead lines and the benefits of burying them?
This issue, as well as the so-called need for all of the new Bill 50 high voltage power lines to be built by AltaLink, ATCO and EPCOR, will most certainly be among the major issues raised during the upcoming election in Alberta.